Yes, Black Lives Matter

Students protesting at the State Capitol rotunda in Madison earlier this month hold a banner proclaiming, “Black Lives Matter.”

Evan Halpop

Students protesting at the State Capitol rotunda in Madison earlier this month hold a banner proclaiming, “Black Lives Matter.”

Patrick Kempfer, Copy Editor

When we talk about the Black Community, and that Black Lives Matter, the immediate response from so many is the retort that “All Lives Matter.” The seriousness, urgency, and desperate call for help is lost in poorly enforced semantics.

To insist that All Lives Matter as a contrite way of contesting the cry of a people struggling to succeed in a country that uses the word tolerance as if it were waiting for mosquito season to end, and is not only insulting and condescending, it is in itself a backwards bigotry, grounded in racism, and born of fear.

There are those too who want so badly to believe that we live in a land where opportunity and success waits for anyone with the free will to improve their situation. However, I feel success and free will go hand-in-hand, and for generations free will was absent from the black people people of this country.

Have we forgotten that every race, ethnicity, and nationality that did not originate here, made a decision to come to America of their own free will, that is, of course, except for African-Americans. Everything that the Black Community has in this country they have had to build from the scraps of a hateful master’s table, and in a country that despised them from day one, no less.

Despite the current situation, there are those who stand by the old adage that one should simply pull themselves up by their bootstraps, and somehow achieve success regardless of a crushing economic handicap, such as systemic racism.

Such absurd maneuvers would make better sense in expecting the starving people of the Ethiopian desert to become farmers and feed themselves. While here in America, it is as if there is a carrot on a string, beckoning them toward a largely unattainable goal of achieving the awe-inspiring American Dream.

There needs to be a continued dialogue about racism, but many people, generally whites, become extremely sensitive to the topic. Have we become such a petrified people, so subdued by soft language, that we cannot have a grown up conversation without being flippant and dismissive to the obvious plight of a single group of people?

When did it become so ingrained in the minds of so many, that we cannot sit still, just be uncomfortable, and talk about what is wrong with this country, this state, this community?

The only way to get past a bad time is through it, and this town has been quietly resting, complacent, in the recesses of subtle racism for far too long. Please understand that I am not martyring myself. I believe I have the capability to speak up in a voice more white people will find it hard to ignore, and if not agree, perhaps have the courage to debate.

It seems to be too easy for some whites to dismiss the voice of the Black Community.

However, when someone with an Anglo-Saxon heritage speaks out, those who might otherwise change the channel, turn the corner, or otherwise close their minds cannot help but listen. This is my white privilege, one of many, and I choose to not ignore it, and to use it for the greater good.

Many people take the “Black Lives Matter” statement out of context in an obvious effort to dissuade the point that, even in today’s progressive society, sometimes, black lives seem to matter less, and that is what people are trying to point out – that is the problem at hand.

A serious injustice is occurring, and just as the underdogs of days gone by have risen against their tyrants, so too must the oppressed people of today rise against tyranny, and strive to create a better tomorrow.

Please, ask yourself the question: What can I do to inspire hope and change in the Black Community, in the Madison Community, in MY Community?